This choir, which celebrates and performs the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, was established by the former director of Spandau Kantorei and the Berlin School of Church Music Hanns-Martin Schneidt in 1961 at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, Germany.
The ensemble comprises around 80 singers and often performs acclaimed guest soloists and with the musical accompaniment of the Bach Collegium which are a group of instrumentalists who perform with several of Germany’s renowned orchestras.
The made their debut on 17th December 1961 when the memorial church had its inauguration ceremony. The performance consisted of the Cantatas I-III from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248).
Since this first concert they have gone on to perform a cantata every 14 days at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church and gained wide acclaim in their native Germany as well as the rest of the world. This has led to them giving over 800 concerts of the sacred music of Bach which includes cantatas, masses, motets, oratorios, orchestral and organ works and passions. They have also broadened their repertoire to include works by other major composers that include Brahms, Dvorak, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Schutz.
Hanns-Martin Schneidt remained with the choir as their music director until 1963. He was succeeded for a brief time by Helmuth Rilling until Karl Hochreiter took over in 1964. Hochreither’s long tenure lasted until 2001 when his position was then passed to the director of the Berliner Singakademie, Achim Zimmerman.
They have made several recordings with titles that include Bach Cantatas in Berlin: One Thousandth Performance, Die Mottetten and Zur Aufführungspraxis der Vokal-Instrumentalwerke.
- http://www.gedaechtniskirche-berlin.de/KWG/dateien/musik/musikensembles.php#Bach-Chor an der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche